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Kenya : KENYA AIRWAYS is free to reduce its employee fleet.

The national carrier of Kenya - Kenya Airways is now allowed to lay off its workers subsequent to the Industrial Court s revocation of an earlier order attained by the employees union opposing the retrenchment plans of KQ. The court shelved the verdict on Thursday after the involved parties moved to the court for resolution.

But, the court has cautioned the airline from adopting any oppressive steps against any of its staff who went for legal recourse on the issue. The court prevented the premeditated redundancy plan of the carrier on August 10 after the Aviation & Allied Workers Union confronted it in court.

KQ announced plans to drop a few of employees via voluntary retirement schemes, layoffs and subcontracting the non-core works so that the towering costs can be controlled as well as its bottom line is shielded.

However, the union alleged that the notice for the voluntary early retirement aspirants was too short and it was violating the recognition contract that was still under consideration. The union also disapproved the strategy claiming that KQ had breached the theory of consultation, concurrent agreement and involvement with them in line with the recognition contract.

The union further blamed the carrier on its failure in accepting contemporary processes and fair input to the process by engaging those who are expected to face the brunt. The union stated that using the economic slowdown as the grounds for layoffs lacked any proof but had been polished with falsehood as KQ s real salary bill was already available.

The KQ people in the application has stated that the carrier was now hiring cabin crew from overseas and had subcontracted a company to sign up more on contractual basis involving a period of one to two years.

According to 26th July circular, KQ had dispatched a letter to its staff with the headline of Kenya Airways Staff Rationalisation programme . The carrier decided this following an assessment of long term maintainability requirements at the back of severe operating scenario, which has been mounting as a result of low passenger traffic, waning incomes, unsteady prices of aviation fuel on top of a growingly aggressive setting.

However, the union was not ready to accept these assertions as the unionized staff got below 15% and 21% of the wage bill against the management s amount of over 85%. They maintained that the instead of the staff, the plan should have included the management. Moreover, the union had reservations on the new recruitment as it countered the company s argument to dispose of some roles.

According to the some portion of the court petition, The financial projections in terms of revenue presented in their various records do not show a company which is undergoing a serious financial crisis. The court has fixed the next hearing date on this issue on 10th September.

2012 Al Bawaba (Albawaba.com)

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Publication:Mena Report
Date:Sep 3, 2012
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